Mismanaging Critical Data in the Gaps Between Applications

By Kristian Kalsing on Mar 7, 2018

The enterprise systems landscape is often dominated by one or more large application like ERP, CRM, or PLM. Each of these systems presents their own application data management challenges, and the biggest challenge is that data in these applications need to be managed for completeness and accuracy. If they aren’t managed properly, the processes that are run by these systems will experience interruptions and critical reporting may be inaccurate.

The challenges that come with managing data vary greatly from application to application. It all depends on the volume of data, the complexity of the interfaces, and numerous other factors. However, there is an emerging pattern where these challenges are amplified when business processes run across multiple systems. In those scenarios, ownership is often blurry and the processes often end up being very manual.

Let’s look at a couple of common examples.

New Product Introduction

An important process for manufacturing companies is their end-to-end product lifecycle process, which begins with a new product idea concept through commercialization and ultimately launching the new product into the market.

In the front-end of this process, research and development are typically managed in a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system. Once a product is commercialized it’s taken over by the supply chain which manages everything from production planning and sourcing to manufacturing and distribution. These supply chain activities are managed in an ERP system like SAP.

But when R&D is ready with a new product, there’s a significant commercialization process to collect all of the data required by the supply chain. This can be as many as 400-800 additional attributes collected from 10-15 different constituents. Because this process sits between PLM and SAP, it effectively falls outside of the scope of these systems and most manufacturing companies have scrambled to establish highly manual processes to fill the gap. These manual processes are slow and error-prone and cause real delays and scalability issues in the overall product launch process.

Customer Onboarding

There’s a very similar pattern happening in the customer onboarding process. Before a customer becomes a customer, most of the activities such as prospecting and evaluation are tracked in the CRM system. As such, the customer is not set up in the ERP system yet.

If you execute fulfillment through SAP, customers need to be set up in SAP before orders can be shipped. This typically happens when a new customer places their first order. However, similar to the New Product Introduction case above, a slow and manual process for collecting and enriching the data before it’s entered into SAP can cause serious delays.

There is nothing more frustrating than having a product ready to ship from a warehouse but delayed because the customer hasn’t been set up in SAP. This isn’t a good first impression for a new customer.

ADM as a solution

These are both processes that span across two major systems. The process ownership lies outside of both systems and the transition and enrichment of the data often fall between the cracks. Most large enterprises still rely on highly manual tools like spreadsheets and email-based processes to handle these scenarios. This is where agnostic Application Data Management (ADM) capabilities can help.

ADM is a technology-enabled discipline designed to help business users manage and govern application data. Whereas traditional MDM tools are suitable for governing data shared between all processes and systems, ADM is a more flexible approach to managing data in processes that only spans across a couple of systems.

About the author

Kristian Kalsing

As Vice President of Product & Solutions, Kristian is responsible for product management, enterprise solutions, and product marketing. He is instrumental in driving the strategic direction of the company and continuously elevating the value that Winshuttle’s software platform and methodology bring to customers. Prior to joining Winshuttle in 2010, Kristian was widely respected as one of the pioneering thought leaders in bridging the gap between SAP and Microsoft technologies. Since starting his career in Denmark, Kristian has gained experience with enterprise software solutions in a broad range of industries in Europe, Australia, and North America. He has held various roles across Engineering, Professional Services, Sales, and Marketing.

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